Jul 312015
 

Think Tank Photo introduces new “FLAIR” kits for your Roller bag!

Make sure you have the required amount of FLAIR for your Think Tank roller!

Customize your Think Tank Photo Roller with your choice red, green, orange, or blue wheels, zipper pulls and padded handle wrap. Make your bag stand out or match your favorite colors. Each Roller Flair kit includes the following color-matched items: two wheels; 10 Easy Grip Zipper Pulls; one padded Handle Wrap; and, the Installation Guide. Think Tank is known for having the best wheels. They use a custom rubber compound for smooth, quiet rolling while also putting an emphasis on longevity. Think Tank only uses ABEC-5 sealed bearings to ensure smooth rolling even after years of hard use. Free shipping on all orders!

See details and options HERE!

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Jul 272015
 
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New Video Monday! JB Designs Grip and Headphones!

By Steve Huff

Hey guys! Today I posted two new videos to my YouTube channel which can be seen below.

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One is on the JB Designs grip for  the E-M5 II and I think it is gorgeous. It is a hand-made in the USA wooden base/grip with access to the battery door and all. Perfect fit and style for this camera, and in use it feels amazing. You can browse all of the JB Grips HERE.

See the video…

Also, I did a video on some new Headphones I have been using and testing, and I love BOTH of them…the Master & Dynamic MH40 and the Blue MOFI’s. Check out what I had to say about them in the video below:

Master and Dynamic MH40: AMAZON

Blue MOFI: Amazon

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Remember to go to my YouTube channel and SUBSCRIBE! ALL NEXT WEEK I will be posting videos from the new Sony A7R..in hand, in action and all kinds of cool stuff. These videos will be uploaded to my YouTube before they make it here, so be sure to subscribe to see them 1st!

See my YouTube channel HERE. 

Jul 202015
 
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Getting a Grip on the Leica Q: The Match Technical Thumbs Up EP-SQ grip Review

By Ashwin Rao

Hi everyone,

I recently had a chance to test out a production proof of the Thumbs Up EP-SQ grip for the Leica Q. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Match Technical’ s Thumbs Up grips, they are mountable on a camera’s hot shoe and provide a nice firm rest upon which to rest the thumb. Many people who shoot Leica cameras, which can be slippery in hand at times, prefer to add these grips to the camera. They act similar to how the film-advance levers of days-gone-by work as thumb rests. I can honestly say that this is a great ergonomic addition to the already fantastic Leica Q, adding that little extra bit of purchase that makes Match Technical’s Thumbs Up grips so popular.

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One “criticism” of the Leica Q is that the thumb indent, which Leica astutely placed on the camera’s rear, is a bit too far off to the edge of the camera and creates hand fatigue if solely used for gripping. I definitely found this to be an issue and addressed the issue in part by adding Leica’s own baseplate/grip. The EP-SQ design uses the indent as a method for securing the grip in place, while adding a nice rest that places the photographer’s thumb in a more comfortable position for shooting.

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One important added benefit of this Thumbs Up is that its design limits inadvertently bumping the Diopter adjustment dial(adjacent to the EVF), which often does go out of whack without protection. The grip effectively limits access to this dial, which is a good thing, as it prevents shirts or other factors to bump the deal and cause your EVF to be thrown out of focus.

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Unfortunately, by mounting the Thumbs Up EP-SQ on your Leica Q, lose access to the hotshoe, but with the Q’s ISO capacities, a flash is rarely needed. This, to me, is a small price to play for the ergonomic benefit of having a better grip on the camera.As an owner of the Thumbs Up Grips for the Leica M8, M9, M240, M246, X1, and Fuji XPro-1, I can confidently say that that Thumbs Up EP-SQ does much of the same for the Leica Q as it does for those cameras….it adds a nice secure grip if one feels that they require more than the Leica’s own offerings.

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I personally use the Thumbs Up in conjunction with Leica’s baseplate grip, for a really firm grasp and a camera that’s well balanced for me (not front heavy). However, may prefer to use their cameras with just the Thumbs-Up Grip, and I can confirm that using the camera in this manner feels quite secure as well.

Below are a few more pictures of the grip. I have been a fan of the Match Technical’s Thumbs Up designs for nearly a decade, and I suspect that you too will enjoy the experience of using a Thumbs Up on the Leica Q.

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You can find pre-order options for the EP-SQ through Match Technical’s own site, or through many of Leica’s own authorized dealers.

http://www.matchtechnical.com/Pages/purchase.aspx

Steve’s Leica Q Review – HERE

Ashwin’s Leica Q Review – HERE

May 202015
 
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The New Ona Leica BERLIN II Bag, NOW in BLACK!

ONA Bags release the Leica themed Berlin bag about a year ago, and it was a very popular bag, selling out in a matter of days. That was a limited edition set but the problem I had with it, and i told ONA at the time about it, is that they should have also released it in Black. Well, now ONA has done just that! The Berlin is now available from Onabags.com for $399 in all black, even has the little Red Dot on the bag. This is a bag designed and made for the Leica M system, and can hold the camera and 2-3 lenses along with some accessories like batteries, chargers, etc.

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It’s a handsome bag for sure and if I did not have 10-12 bags here already, I would get one in a nanosecond. At $399 it is priced on the high end but this is a well made bag  that will last you many years if not a lifetime. You get what you pay for! If you are a Leica shooter then you know what you spent for your camera system, this bag is an investment that can protect and house your expensive camera and look gorgeous while doing it.

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You can check out the Berlin II (which is also in the tan/brown leather) at ONABAGS.COM

 

Apr 302015
 

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Angelo Pelle Cases for the M 240 and Sony A7II (Video)

After acquiring a Leica Safari M 240 set I went to the website of Angelo Pelle to see what he had to offer in the form of a half case for the green Safari. I knew I wanted something different, something unique and something besides the usual black or brown half case as the Leica Safari is a sort of Army Green color. After perusing his website for a while, and after owning a fantastic brown leather half case for my Sony A7II that Angelo made, I found the half case AND bag that I wanted from him for my Safari M.

Camouflage.

See the video below to see the case and bag

I decided to order his “Henri Bag” which is a small design that will hold your Leica and small lens as well as one more lens to bring along, and that is about it. I asked for BOTH in Camo color (though if I could go back I would get the case in CAMO and the bag in Black) and in less than 2 weeks I had the custom set at my door. I have had my share of half cases for Leica M cameras. Gariz, Arte Di Mano, Luigi,  Artisan & Artist, Leica’s own cases and a few cheap options that all fit loose and sloppy. I always have said “you get what you pay for” and this holds true with half cases for the Leica M. Usually.

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The best fit cases I have tried until now have been the Arte Di Mano line, but man are they expensive. (then again, so is a Leica M). Luigi cases are gorgeous as well but a tad on the thick side and Leica’s own cases are the worst of the lot with sloppy fits and odd designs.

As for Angelo Pelle, his cases are right up there at the top when it comes to quality, design, fit and finish. When I received my Camo case for the Safari I was stunned at the quality of Leather used as well as the “fit like a glove” design. It offers nearly full protection for the camera, most I have seen for a half case as it come all the way up to the top and even covers pretty much all of the rear bottom, top and sides. There is even a flap to cover the LCD if you want to do that. I have been shooting the M like this, and it is pretty cool to ignore the LCD!

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Angelo’s products are top notch, best rating I can give. He is a friendly guy, offers unique options and all products of his are hand made in Italy. They fit perfect and feel fantastic. The Leica case has a built in grip that allows a nice feel, and this really takes it up a notch as well.

His cases are not cheap, but they are not the most expensive either. I find them to be the best I have used, and for quality Leica leather cases, price in the upper middle of the range. Less expensive than Art De Mano and Luigi and well worth the cost IF you are looking for a high quality beautiful case to protect your camera and give it a nicer feel when you are using it.

You can see Angelo’s website HERE. He has quite a it to offer and makes cases for many cameras. My Angelo Pelle Sony A7II case is superb, amazing. It is wearing in nicely as well. The only weaknesses I found with these cases is that once they are on you lose access to the battery and memory card until you take the case off. This is how 99% of cases are though. Me I shoot all day, come home and then take the case off once to get my card and battery. No problem.

Apr 102015
 

JB Designs Leica M 240 Grip & HoldFastGear Roamographer Mini in the house!

It’s Friday and what a great beautiful sunny mid 80 degree day here in Phoenix AZ! Also a great day as I had several surprises in the mail today. First up, a slew of new hand-made in the USA grips for my Leica M 240, my A7II, the Olympus E-M5II and the Olympus E-M1, and JB Designs has been stepping up their game lately with BEAUTIFUL new designs. The Leica M 240 Grip is FANTASTIC and beats Leica’s own grip at a much lower price! It fits perfect, it looks beautiful and it feels so natural and smooth. The smell is amazing to boot. I also received the new Roamographer Mini bag from Hold Fast Gear. WOW, what a stunning bag. A work of art.

Up 1st…

JB DESIGNS LEICA M 240 GRIP

I was sent a slew of new designs from JB Designs and have to say, I love the M 240 and E-M5II grip the most. Gorgeous. But do not take my word for it, take a look for yourself and see what it looks like on my Safari M…

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Makes the M feel so much nicer. The best part? He sells these on Amazon for $85 and each one is hand made in the good old USA.

You can see it or buy it on Amazon HERE.  

At the time of this writing he has 6 in Bamboo left. The version you see here is his latest creation, with the darker Brazilian Chestnut wood. Stunning. You can see more at the JB Website HERE.  If you own an M 240 and want a unique, great feeling and beautifully made wooden grip, this is IT and it is a GREAT price for a wonderful hand crafted product.

He also has a fantastic grip for the E-M5II as well..on Amazon HERE. $85 and in stock in the new dark Brazilian Chestnut. Six left in stock there. A bargain.

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JB Designs is fantastic. A USA company that takes pride in their work, keeps prices decent and delivers a super good looking and functional product. Awesome.

HOLD FAST GEAR – ROAMOGRAPHER MINI

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The new Roamographer Mini from HOLD FAST GEAR is a stunning “mini” version of the original Roamographer that I reviewed a while back. GORGEOUS bags but the original is LARGE. The Mini is PERFECT. Hand made in the good old USA, I may not have seen another bag like this that was under $1500. This one comes in at $525 but it screams beauty, quality, pride, and is quite functional as well. Sure, you can go get a canvas bag for $50 but this is for the discriminating enthusiast or professional who wants a bag to last them their lifetime, and then they children lifetime. This is one of those bags that will be handed down generation to generation. Imagine what the bag above will look like in 50 years ;)

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I love this company and what they stand for and the owner, Matt Swaggart is a super nice guy. I own the Money Maker Strap, the large Roamographer and now the Mini. Along with Wotancraft, this is one of my all time fave bag maker (and straps). Check out all they have to offer at HOLDFASTGEAR.com!!

THIS IS QUALITY and as I always say, YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR!

Apr 072015
 

Lots of new stuff arriving!! Bags, Cases, Goodies..

Hey to all! Hope you are having a wonderful start to the week! It has been busy here for me with work, family time, hobbies and non stop LIFE happening. Time sure does fly when you are having fun, that is not a lie! In any case, just an update on some new things coming in, upcoming reviews and maybe a rumor or two…

The beautiful new Summarit 35..review VERY soon along with the 50, 75 and 90.

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LEICA

Leica seems to have been slipping a but lately but I am confident that they will bounce back with something new, special and WOW. I mean, they HAVE To. They have a new CEO yet again and maybe they are going to change strategies? If they got me into a meeting I would tell them to release THIS:

A REAL Mini M rangefinder. M mount. Basic, no video, no-nonsense. Just the camera, the exposure dial, the power button and the shutter. Make it mini-fied, not as solid as the M 240, but a compromise between a real M and something like an X. A mini rangefinder M camera WITH built in RF/EVF hybrid. A real RF though, not a fake on like Fuji uses. Price: $3500-$3700 MAX. THIS would be a hit. This and the new Summarits would rock the world. Will it happen? Probably not but one can dream, and it would boost Leica’s sales in a huge way.

Speaking of the Summarits, Ken Hansen (email: [email protected]) was kind enough to ship me ALL four new Summarits  so I can review them! (when I send them back he will be selling  them as Demo’s at a great price, so be on the lookout). I hear nothing but GREAT things about the new Summarit line and being Leica’s most affordable lenses, I am anxious to give them a try. My Safari M is waiting :) HOPEFULLY I do not fall for the 50, 75 or 90 as I will want to buy them. Being a reviewer has it’s pros and cons you know. Lol. I always review stuff that I want to keep.

So look out for the Summarit reviews in 2-3 weeks. 

Also for my Safari set I have a VERY cool bag and case on the way from Angelo Pelle. He is sending me his Henri bag in Camo as well as a Half case in Camo, perfect for the Safari. Angelo does amazing work, each case is hand stitched and takes a few days to make. He is working on mine as I type this. The bag will hold the Safari with lens and one other lens inside a lens pouch. Take a look at the bag, and the Camo case on a Sony A7II. Pretty sweet! When it arrives I will be doing a full video review of the bag, the case and my Angelo Pelle case for my A7II. Lovely hand made items for two amazing cameras.

See more at his website HERE. 

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Speaking of the Leica Safari M-P set, check with PopFlash.com and Ken Hansen if you want one while there are a few left. To me, it is the best deal ever for a Leica special edition as it comes in CHEAPER than if you bought the standard pieces separate! You save about $1000 and get a limited edition set with a gorgeous silver 35 cron. The cron is YUMMY. It’s a gorgeous set which I will also have a video on this week. But yea, the cron on the M is beautiful..

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All 35 Summicron, at f/2 – the color, the detail the “organicness” is all there..at least I see it! I chose to make them VIVID with color pop! All test shots to see if my RF was focusing correct and it was.

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So Leica will be getting some attention here on these pages REAL soon. The Safari set, the new Summarit line and maybe even more surprises. To get you Leica fix, as mentioned, check with Ken Hansen, PopFlash.com, The Pro Shop for Photographers or LeicaStoreMiami.com 

MORE BAGS!

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Check out  this beauty above. It is the HoldFastGear.com Roamographer Mini. I own the full size Roamographer and for me it is the highest quality bag I own, even surpassing the amazing and great Wotancraft bags for construction and quality. When the full size Roamograoher arrived I requested they make a MINI version, and they told me they were working on one, and here it is.

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I love my full size Roamographer BUT for me it is a tad too large. I have a Mini on the way and will be reviewing it as soon as it arrives. For me it looks like it can hold a Sony A7 system with a couple of lenses or a Leica M system with a few lenses or an Olympus system with a few lenses. It is small enough to remain compact yet not so small as to cause a problem. I use my Wotancraft Ryker EVERY single day. I love my Wotancraft THOR..will the new Roamographer Mini be my new fave? Check back soon for a full review. If you want to check out the Roamographer in more detail, see my review of the original full size bag HERE or see the website at HoldFastGear.com for more.  Yes, some of you will cry MAN PURSE but hey, these are amazing quality bags from build to style, and I am confident as can be in my masculinity, so I like Man Purses. They do the job when I have to carry goods around with me. :)

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SONY

I still have to finish my Sony 35 1.4 Zeiss lens review (1st hand on look is HERE). This lens is a BEAUTIFUL beast. Large, in charge and outputs some serious IQ, in line with the Leica 35 1.4 Summilux. Only neg is that it is LARGE. I also hope to try the wide angle converters for the new 28mm lens (my review here) and the new 90 Macro should be arriving SOON. Sony is always releasing new goodies and I have a hard time reviewing them all, so I stick with what I know will be FANTASTIC.

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VOIGTLANDER

The new 15 f/4.5 Heliar is GORGEOUS. It fixes all past issues when used on digital full frame bodies. It works perfect on the Leica M or the Sony A7 series. No more colored edges or soft corners. THIS is a true 15mm wide angle with no distortion and yes, is the BEST choice IMO for a 15mm view on your Leica or Sony full frame. Price is $750 but it is about equal to other lenses in the $2-$5k range as far as I am concerned. A true deal if you enjoy wide angle from time to time. You can buy it at CameraQuest.com with free shipping and free BW filter. HIGHLY recommended.

1st three is the new 15 VIII on the A7II

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2nd set, all on the Leica M

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Other than that I know there is new stuff coming from Olympus, Sony and others. As always I will review the best of the lot and what I think you guys would enjoy. New bags, new cases, new lenses, new cameras…all on the way. Stay tuned right here as always! Also, keep on the lookout for my new one on one Sedona photo adventure..details soon.

Thanks to you all!

Steve

Mar 302015
 

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The Angelo Pelle Sony A7II Luxury Case. Gorgeous Craftmanship.

Order one HERE

Any reader who has stuck with me for a while knows that I LOVE CASES for my cameras. Not just normal cases, but NICE cases that have beautiful hand made workmanship and fit the cameras like a glove. I have bought many cases to test over the years and my all time favorite has been the Arte Di Mano cases for the Leica M. With the soft leather and “fit like a glove” appearance, they are amazing. The only problem with the Arte Di Mano cases is the cost, but when you spend $12k on a camera and lens, $500 for a case to protect it really is not that big of a deal. I mean, you do want to protect your investment do you not?

But what about with a camera like the Sony A7II? At $1699, it is nowhere near the cost of a Leica M so should we spend $500+ on a case for them? No, I wouldn’t. But around half of that or a little more I would if the case was hand-made, beautiful and fit like a glove…oh and came with a strap!

The case I am writing about today is the new Angelo Pelle A7II case and strap set, and let me say that while they will  not be for everyone, it is a gorgeous case that has a premium luxury feel and fit and it protects the camera fully while giving it some extra “grippage” and it meets my criteria for what I was looking for.

The case color I chose was the “Testa Di Moro Waxed” version and WOW. When it arrived in its deluxe box and bag I knew it was going to be good. When I first put my A7II inside the case it seemed bulky and fat (and I am not a fan of this). When the case arrived, I was told it would take 1-2 weeks to settle in and fit the camera like a glove. Those words were correct. Today, after a solid week of use, it fits my A7II like a glove and it’s so gorgeous (to my eyes, not everyone will like it as we all have personal tastes)…

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One thing that I love is that the case also has a snap on back cover. I have been using it this way all week and this way I avoid “chimping”. When my camera is set, it is set. I shoot in Aperture Priority mode and all I need is my aperture dial at the ready. I shoot RAW and JPEG and have no need for menu settings. Even my ISO is always on AUTO. So shooting with the back on is OK for me but others will only leave it on for traveling or carrying the camera for LCD protection, which is probably what it was designed for anyway :)

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Without the back cover on the buttons are there and available but the Fn button IS covered by the case. Still, its easy to activate just by pushing the leather where the button is. Easy as pie.

The case comes in a variety of colors and finishes and also comes with a strap. The strap is a very soft leather that feels amazing and never puts any strain on my shoulder. It compliments the case perfectly.

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The Camo looks pretty sweet and you can see how well the case fits here. I had a Gariz A7II case but this case beats it in all areas as it offers full protection of the front, back, sides..all the way to the top. It never gets in the way and it is at the perfect WOW accessory to dress up your A7II as well as protect it. It also gives it a beefier feel in the hand, but not too much. Over time the leather will wear in more and more and will eventually develop a Patina showing your months and years of use.

I highly recommend this case to anyone who owns an A7II that loves a hand-made amazing quality case. It is that simple. The only weakness I found with this case  that can be frustrating is you have to remove the case to get to the battery and memory card. For me, I was out shooting all week and it did not bother me as I did not need to get to those items until the end of the day. But at home, if I take a few shots and then want to check them I have to remove the case each time. For this reason, I leave the case off if shooting around the house but when traveling or going out of the house, it is one for full protection.

If Angelo Pelle created a way to allow SD card access it would have no weakness ;) Even so, I still recommend this case. It’s a beauty! When I ordered mine it took a few days to arrive. Pretty quick!

You can see all options for this case or order it at the Angelo Pelle A7II page HERE. 

Mar 252015
 

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The Wotancraft RAVEN Mirrorless Camera Bag Video Review

Hey guys! I am back yet again with another video review of a GREAT Wotancraft bag. I have to say, these guys make the best bags I have ever used. Not only are they gorgeous in their design and workmanship, they are very functional and useful, which is what they go for. A perfect mix of style, quality and functionality.

In the past I have reviewed the Ryker, The Thor and others and today I am talking about the new small bag they call “RAVEN”. The Raven is all leather, all hand-made, all 100% quality construction and materials. It comes in at $279 US and is perfect for a mirrorless or Leica system. In fact, the small Raven puts most “boutique” bags to shame with its amazing feel and design. Like a baby Ryker!

Check out the video below as well as images below it. You can order the Ryker at WOTANCRAFT HERE.

 My video review of the Raven

You can see my Ryker review HERE. My THOR Review is HERE.
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Feb 272015
 

The Moose That Got Away

by R.Luther

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(From Steve: This is a cool little post from Site Sponsor, rluther.com. He makes amazing little buttons to add to your mirrorless cameras for improved tactile feel and control. I have a set on my Sony A7s and A7II, love them. You can see more at his website HERE.)

Okay, it really wasn’t a Moose! It’s just that when you grow-up in a large city, (in this case Pittsburgh) ya think of all large four-legged animals with antlers pokin’ out of their heads as a “Moose”. It was probably a large elk. A really, really big Elk. We’ll get back to this mammoth mammal in a moment. But… Here’s how this true story really begins.

Sometime in February, 2012 I spotted in a photo magazine what I’ve been dreaming of my entire photographic life. Sony, in their divine, creative engineering wisdom, was offering a camera that I was sure I could not live without. A very small, twenty-four megapixel, Tri-nav….yada, yada The “Sony NEX-7 24.3 MP Compact Interchangeable Lens Camera”.

The links below compelled me to lose touch with my normally prudent senses.

http://www.stevehuffphoto.com/2011/10/23/the-sony-nex-7-digital-camera-review-by-steve-huff/
http://www.cnet.com/products/sony-alpha-nex-7/

The Cactus

Next, came the very unpleasant task of convincing “the wife” that there’s a big difference between our definition of “need” and “want”. I would surely rather sit naked on a cactus! Persistence is key in these matters! After creating a solid week of sound arguments (mostly bullshit), I could tell that she was tiring. Persistence! Finally she gave in, but made it quite clear that all of my Nikon gear had to be “sacrificed” on Craigslist ASAP! What could I do? That’s right, I offered my Nikon D300 and all lenses on the www. I guess I under priced this equipment, because within a week or so I had more than enough funds for my new “dream camera”.

Then the floods came

http://www.stevehuffphoto.com/2011/10/20/sony-nex-7-majorly-delayed-due-to-flood/

The wrath of Mother Nature decided to super-soak Thailand and brought the Sony NEX production to an unexpected screeching halt. My disappointment was painful. Sometimes “bad” news can be good news in disguise and this delay actually turned out to be “a good thing”. While anxiously awaiting Amazon’s pre-order announcement, I began reading everything I could about Sony’s new offering. It soon became very obvious that they (Sony) weren’t thinking very hard or clearly when it came to the placement of the “Record” button. This “flaw” was reported by everyone everywhere.

An opportunity was revealed

This nuisance button placement needed a solution and re-ignited my dormant entrepreneurial spirit. It took a few drinks, a few days, and dozens of sketches, but voila, I felt good enough about my design/solution to begin production. “The Guard” was born! It was/is a success! Luck counts too. http://www.rluther.com/

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Finally

On Monday Sept 12, 2012 Amazon notifies me that they have a few NEX-7 bodies available and within two minutes my finger was pressing the “Buy Now With 1-Click” button. (Prime/No Shipping) for $1199.99. Now I’ll be happy! Within a few long days I ordered 3 “E” lenses. Even my wife thought that it was the coolest little camera she had ever seen. It’s all good.

I love that truck!

We live on an acre of high plains property in New Mexico and our neighbors are sparse. I mention this because it helps explain how the faint sound of a strangely colored truck could be heard miles away. To be fair, you need to know that the “Track Package” feature at the “Your Orders” page at Amazon gave me a “heads/ears-up”. Ya just gotta love that Jeff Bezos!
Robert, my UPS driver was grinning as broadly as I was when he pulled his beautiful “Toy Truck” (my wife calls it “Rick’s Toy Truck”) on to our property. I think they may be on to me. It was like Christmas morning! It was here!

Getting acquainted

It didn’t take long to not read the manual and installing the “Guard” was just as easy as I had been telling our customers. (note: I borrowed a NEX from a friend of mine that worked at Best Buy to develop the Guard). Before the sun settled on the horizon, I managed to take the obligatory 150+ pics of our four cats, 55 lawn furniture pics, & 88 sunsets. I believed I was ready.

Vacation time

On Sunday 6-24-12, after loading-up our Jeep Liberty with probably 72% of everything we own, (I’m not sure why, but my wife has this “disorder” that results in her thinking that when we take a vacation, we are permanently relocating. Very peculiar!) we headed North. Our destination was a time-share resort in Estes Park, Colorado. Very nice! We settled in and rested-up for the hiking we would do the next day.

 

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The beast and the buttons

It’s just my opinion, but I think that cameras & hiking get along better than most any married couple that I’ve ever met. I’m just sayin’! The forest trails in Estes Park were almost as beautiful as my new NEX-7 but much more challenging. We hiked for hours when I heard something that sounded like it might be a lot larger than us and I quickly, but cautiously turned to see a monster of a Moose (Elk). It really was very probably the largest animal I ever made eye-contact with. Regaining my composure, I reached for the almost new camera and decided to use the attached lens, a 55mm f3.5-5.6. As I was getting the camera ready for the “shot of a lifetime”, I realized the “flush” setting buttons didn’t allow the quick access I needed for “the perfect shot”. The f@#$* setting buttons were “hiding” from me! The big beast patiently looked at me as if he knew he would have to pose a bit longer, but as I struggled with the “invisible” buttons he decided that he had lost patience with me and my new NEX, and wandered off leaving me with only an unbelievable mega-Moose (Elk) story to tell. Without the photographic evidence, no one was ever going to believe me. Damn!

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We hiked awhile as I cursed the stupid buttons.

On the way back to the condo I decided that subtle modifications could be made to my “baby” that would very likely preclude ever missing “the Moose shot of a lifetime”.

Goodwill, a manicure set & some toothpaste

Since we were staying in CO. for another week or so, I thought I’d put on my designer/entrepreneur hat once again and started drinking, thinking and sketching. I’m a big fan of all the used stuff at Goodwill and decided that would be the best place to begin. It was just down the road. Rummaging through a bunch of small junk, raw materials appeared that could be “whittled on” to produce my first, second, and third prototype. A bit of toothpaste and a hairdryer and Voila the four not so shiny buttons came to life. They looked like crap but added the tactile feel that I was looking for and needed to “find” the buttons. YES! My “missing the Moose” days were over and another simple but clever product began its infancy.

Home sweet home
Time to go to work. Taking some of the “Guard” profits, I ordered some materials for final button prototypes. After considering every conceivable material, I decided CRES (stainless-steel) would be the best choice. The production of these flawless buttons wasn’t as easy as you might think and I won’t bore you with details, but here are a few photos to illustrate some of the difficulties:

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See the finished product at http://www.rluther.com

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I love that Moose! …. The End

Dec 012014
 

Cyber Monday Deals (Things I would Buy) – Sony, Cosyspeed and more!

Hey guys! It’s “Cyber Monday” and while every year stores and manufacturers try to get me to push their deals on things I would not personally ever buy, every year I do not post 95% of those deals simply because as I said…I would never buy or use these products. But sometimes there are deals that come along that I feel are special, or well worth the cost and sometimes, a downright NO BRAINER. Things I WOULD buy! Last week I posted a couple of deals..one on the Hasselblad Stellar SE at 70% off (and I ordered one myself), the deal on the Sigma DP Quattro, which is almost half off from $999 to $599. The Sigma is a unique camera and was not tempting to me at $999 but at $599 it is something that some will want for its unique IQ and capabilities for certain subjects.

Below are a few more deals on things that I feel are a great bang for the buck…

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Sony also has some AWESOME deals on the A6000 camera (which is FANTASTIC, see my review HERE)..

Sony A6000 with 16-50 Power Zoom lens – $598!

Sony A6000 Body only – $448!

CAMSLINGER 160 Paris Gray

CosySpeed has a great deal on their Camslinger bags at $69 each! THIS BAG IS A STEAL FOR $69 and is one of the most useful camera carrying cases I have ever used. See my video on it HERE.

Buy the Cosyspeed Camslinger in BLACK for $69 HERE at B&H Photo. A $50 SAVINGS.

Their finger strap is something I actually prefer to a wrist strap, and it can be had for only $12.90. See it here. (Also used in the video at the above link) 

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How about a deal on the Fuji X100S?

$899 in black!

LEICA?

Also, do not forget Leica has some cool discounts right now. $750 of an M 240 and $250 off of most lenses. You can buy Leica from Ken Hansen, PopFlash.com, The Pro Shop or Leica Store Miami.

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NIKON!

There is a great Nikon Df deal over at Amazon (Through ONECALL) where you can get a Nikon Df and 50 1.8 for $600 off (in black) for a total of $2396 (20% off). Check it out HERE.

Nov 252014
 

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The NEW Wotancraft THOR and Ryker Brown Camera Bags!

I love Wotancraft bags. Today, at the end of 2014, I have tested and tried bags from so many companies. Many have been reviewed here, some were used and not reviewed (when I did not care for the item) and a few were used and given away to readers on my Facebook page.

One company that NEVER EVER fails to impress me 100% of the time is Wotancraft. When it comes to QUALITY and FUNCTIONAL and FASHIONABLE bags, Wotancraft is #1 in my book. Sure, there are some mighty fine bag companies out there making beautiful bags today. Artisan & Artist, ONA, Billingham and Hold Fast Gear. Sure, there are bags that are basic and cheaper and VERY functional. Bags like Think Tank are #1 when it comes to function but stylish they are usually not.

Some people could care less about style, and others MUST have style along with the function. For me, the best I have seen EVER for this kind of bag (style and function) is from WOTANCRAFT, without question. This is what makes them my #1 favorite bag company ever. In my last review of their Ryker (black) I was so excited about this bag that they sold out quickly after my review. Many waited 2-3 months for their Ryker as they are produced in limited runs. Many asked me “do they make this beautiful bag in Brown leather as well as black”?

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Well, I am happy to announce that yes, the Ryker is NOW available in Brown as well as black. The brown and black are both here sitting next to me at my desk and I can say that both are just BEAUTIFUL. I feel the brown will wear in better over the years and develop a rich patina but both are equally as impressive in the looks, build quality and materials used as well as FUNCTION, the #1 reason we need a camera bag. This brown would look SO SO good with a silver chrome Leica M housed inside, or even a Fuji X100 or X-T1, Leica TOlympus E-M1 or a Sony A7 series camera. Have a Leica X, that will work as well :)

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In fact, I find for my use that the Ryker is the most functional bag I have owned when using a Leica M or mirrorless system. It’s really that good. 

The new Brown Ryker can be seen in my review video below where I talk about it and the new Thor bag (which is a beautiful beast of a bag). Both are beautiful as well as the best constructed bags I have ever used, tested or owned.

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The new Thor is very interesting as it comes in at a VERY high price tag of $849 USD. Yes, just $150 less than a cool grand. EXPENSIVE? HELL YES. Worth it? Well, that depends in YOU and how m much you are comfortable with when buying a bag of this quality. These are high end bags and are made to a very high standard as well. If you want quality, as in, lifetime quality, these bags will stand the test of time without questions. When you buy a bag such as the Thor ($849 USD) or Ryker ($379 USD) you can expect to own it for the rest of your life. It will travel with you everywhere and only develop character scars from your own use. Patina will develop over time and in 20-30 years the bag will be rich in history and beauty. That is the kind of bag you can expect from Wotancraft. One thing I have learned in my 45+ years on this earth. Buying quality 1st saves you money later as you do not have to replace your items when you buy the good stuff up front. ;)

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I have nothing but high praise for Wotancraft. Premium materials, premium construction and build and super function. These pieces are as good as it gets for me. Highly Recommended.

You can see more about these bags or order them at WOTANCRAFT direct using THIS LINK. You can also see more of what they offer by clicking HERE. 

Wotancraft is also having a special for the Christmas Season. Anyone who buys a bag will receive a very nice travel pouch with their order!

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Nov 212014
 

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The Western Digital 2TB My Book Velociraptor Duo Thunderbolt Desktop Hard Drive – Normally $699 – TODAY only $279!

B&H Photo is putting up one deal every day for the holidays and today starts it off with this Western Digital External Desktop Hard Drive. Normally $699, now $279. This is a 2TB Thunderbolt drive! Available today only – until it sells out or midnight!

Nov 192014
 

Steve Huff in Las Vegas (10)

Testing the new CosySpeed Camslinger Bag for Street Shooting (Video)

A month or two ago I was out in Las Vegas with the Head Honcho of CosySpeed (Thomas Ludwig) who travelled all the way from Germany to let me see his newest bag as well as shoot some video of me street shooting while using it and putting it to the test. I also did an interview where I answered quite a few questions about photography as well as discussing things I enjoy, my style and what drives me. It was a great time and I enjoyed it as I was doing what I love to do in a city I enjoy for its vast amount of photographic subjects.

Here I am using the new “Paris Grey” Camslinger in Las Vegas NV a few weeks ago. See how I prefer to shoot on the street…

I talked about the CosySpeed Camslinger bags when they were launched and I actually really enjoyed them. I even used on my recent Southwest Road Trip workshop during the Antelope Canyon portion of the event. It worked out VERY well as it allowed me to carry my Sony A7s without even realizing I was carrying it. Much lighter than a backpack, less noticeable on my body than a strap and a great fast way to get your mirrorless camera ready for action.

CAMSLINGER 160 Paris Gray

In Vegas I used the new Grey model which I thought was pretty nice, especially when compared to the Green and Black original. The grey was classy and looked great. As I walked I even had a couple of people ask me what bag it was. The whole concept of the bag came to CosySpeed owner, Thomas Ludwig while he watched two of his favorite movies. One was a Clint Eastwood western, which insider him to make a holster style case that was a bit different from the typical “Fanny Pack” we see today. The Camslinger does not sit on your waist like a fanny pack, it sites more like a holster for your camera…slightly lower on one side for easy access to the camera inside.

Steve Huff in Las Vegas (10)

As I walked the streets of Las Vegas with the Camslinger I found that I never even noticed I was carrying a thing, until I went to grab my Camera. It is that light and un-obtrusive. After that shooting session I was sort of hooked on the holster bag. It was functional, it was attractive and when it was on me, I did not even realize it. Thomas told me they also were releasing an all black version MINUS the green, which is also killer for those who want their case/bag/holster to be all black and stealthy.

CAMSLINGER 160 Street Edition

The belt is adjustable, the bag is adjustable and can be made wider depending on your needs and they come in a couple of sizes. They also do not and wilt break the bank. These bags are well worth the cost at $99 for both the special edition Camslinger 160 in Paris Grey and the 160 Street Edition in al black.

In this world of $400-$600 camera bags, getting a simple, functional and very lightweight holster for your camera at $99 seems like a bargain of the year.

Don’t be put off by the looks, in use it is fantastic. You can buy these Camslinger Bags at B&H Photo HERE.  I now own the Paris Grey version I used in the video above and love it. When I need to take one camera with me, the 160 Camslinger goes with me and it is like not even bringing a camera as you really do not realize it is on!

Steve

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PRESS RELEASE BELOW:

New CAMSLINGER bags from COSYSPEED.

Just in time for the Christmas season, COSYSPEED introduces two new color editions of its CAMSLINGER camera bag for compact system cameras: the CAMSLINGER 160 Street Edition and the CAMSLINGER 160 Paris Gray. Both versions of the bag will be available by mid-November for a special price of 79.99 Euro / US-$ 99.00.”

AD Steve NOV14

A quick word about Street Photography

A week or two ago I posted a video I whipped up about how I GO ABOUT shooting images on the “street” and a few of you (only a few) chimed in saying “taking portraits in not street photography” – well…who defined what street photography is? Those who like to shoot the backs of heads or sniping shots of unaware people? To me, that is just random shooting.

For example, Vivian Maier is one person I consider to be an amazing “street photographer”. In fact, I prefer her work to any of the old masters many rave about. She did a mix of “decisive moment” shooting as well as “street portraits” and she is now known as a great street photographer, as she should be. That is what she did and she was fantastic at it. But saying portraits of strangers is NOT a form of street is incorrect, as it is.

Steve Huff in Las Vegas (6)

I do not and have never posed anyone though sometimes they pose themselves if I am doing that sort of street portrait. I like to mix it up and get people without me telling them up front and I also like to chat it up with others, and then ask them for a photo. It works both ways but I do not “pose”  – I just go out, walk around, look for interesting people to meet and try to be as social as possible as this approach usually yields some great results, more so than sneaking shots of people walking by or “decisive moments” of someone walking out of a shadow in front of a building which is so overdone it is quite boring to look at today.

I find people interesting and in a place like Las Vegas, most are willing and excited to talk with you. It’s a fun time and shooting strangers is something I have always enjoyed. Its therapeutic and feels great and yes, this is indeed a form..a version..a variant of “Street Photography”.

I enjoy it and in the grand scheme of things, that is ALL that matters ;)

 

Nov 042014
 

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The new Artisan & Artist CLCAM-1000 Camera Bag

Artisan & Artist have released a new camera bag, the CLCAM-1000 in a new Navy Color, and it is a beauty! This bag is perfect for a mirrorless system or Leica M system. In fact, a Leica M would be perfect for this bag as it would fit a 1-2 bodies and 2-3 lenses as well as a charger and accessories. It has “Rangefinder Bag” written all over it and is up there in quality with the best I have seen (in this niche) :) It is made of canvas and Leather.

Artisan & Artist sent me the CLCAM-1000 for review and it is one clean-looking design with the typical Artisan & Artist usability and functionality…and of course, the usual A&A BEAUTY.  The new Navy color is fantastic and is not usually seen in higher end camera bags. It is a step away from the typical black or brown leather and canvas we usually see in these sorts of bags. Artisan & Artist have always been in my top three bag companies with my #1 longest lasting bag coming from them. These days I enjoy a few bags from Wotancraft, Hold Fast Gear, CosySpeed and Ona but also have fallen for this bag from Artisan & Artist. I may need an extra room in my house soon to house all of my camera bags, lol. (maybe a giveaway soon)?

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Many love higher end fashion camera bags and many complain about them not understanding why anyone would want such a pricey bag. Me, I love all bags but there are so many fantastic camera bags out there. How do we find the “right one” for our needs when there are so many awesome companies making these higher end super quality bags today?

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It’s all a personal choice really. Wether we go for a high end beautiful luxury bag or a low end $49 special, all that matters is that WE like what we use and buy. If I hate a bag I will not use it. If I love a bag it will go with me everywhere and be functional, doing more than just carrying my camera. When I first started getting into really nice bags, Artisan & Artist was my 1st choice. I used some of their bags for years..taking them all over the world in rain, sleet, snow and blistering heat. From airport to airport and on the streets, on the beach and everywhere in between. I had a nice large one that I used for travel and it never let me down in construction or stealthy looks. These days I use a very sweet Hold Fast Roamographer for my travel but when I need to go on a day outing with a Leica M I have found that this new A&A CLCAM-1000 can easily fit the bill. Sure, many bags can but some may adore the classic styling of this bag as well as the gorgeously functional interior. The front flap snaps into place instead of using buckles or velcro, which is nice.

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The new CLCAM-1000 exudes class and is yet another bag in the A&A line that will get compliments on the design and looks of the bag itself. The padded interior is typical Artisan & Artist Red and as stated, large enough for 1-2 Leica M’s and a couple of lenses. A Sony A7 and 3 lenses or something like an Olympus E-M1 and a few lenses. It’s a mirrorless bag for sure, not really for a DSLR system. I was able to fit my 13″ Macbook Air inside but it was tight. I think it would be best with an iPad Air or the smaller Macbook Air. I see this as a day trip bag or something to keep you beloved mirrorless safe and sound when in use and when not in use.

Some bags I have used over the years age very well and some do not. The ones that have has always been from Ona, Artisan & Artist and Domke. I have not used my other bags long enough to speak about longevity but this one gives me no doubts. The inner flap is lined with zipper pockets to hold memory cards, film, or cables. Even your iPhone.

Overall this is a fantastic looking, feeling and functional bag. Add it to the growing list of useful camera bags that not only perform but look the part as well. The price for this bag in the USA comes in at around $500.00. I was not able to find any dealers selling this bag, nor was I able to find any information about the bag on A&A’s own website, which was odd..but I did see one on E-Bay for $530 and shipping from Japan. I am sure the USA dealers will get a hold of this bag SOON. It is expensive, and there are many other options out there for the same or less money but if you are an Artisan & Artist fan like me you may just fall for this one.

Things I would have changed about this bag? Maybe a rear pocket could have been added (I find these very useful). That is about it.

Artisan & Artist dealers I recommend are PopFlash.com and LeicaStoreMiami.com

 

 

© 2009-2015 STEVE HUFF PHOTOS All Rights Reserved
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